BERLIN, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- New vehicle registries in Germany fell significantly in September as domestic carmakers grappled with new exhaust system testing procedures, official figures by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) showed on Tuesday.
According to the KBA, 200,134 new passenger vehicles were registered in September, marking a decline of 30 percent, or 200,000 vehicles, compared to the same period last year.
The development was largely attributed by the KBA to the introduction of the new Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), which became legally-binding in the European Union (EU) as of Sept. 1. Technological changes required to fulfill the standards have been associated with delays in production at several German carmakers and have even led the BMW and Volkswagen Group to issue a profit warning to investors earlier.
WLTP was designed to provide more realistic information about the mileage of vehicles after gasoline consumption under the previous "New European Driving Cycle" (NEDC) was found to be 42 percent higher on average than indicated by car manufacturers. Many carmakers in Germany failed to ensure WLTP certification for their fleets in time, however, leading to severe capacity-bottlenecks in related testing procedures.
The most dramatic collapses in vehicle registries in September were measured for the domestic brands Audi (minus 78 percent), Porsche (minus 75 percent) and Volkswagen (minus 62 percent). Several models offered by the German automotive industry are now only expected to become available from January 2019 onwards.
Nevertheless, annual car registries are still up by an annual 2.4 percent at 2,673,418 during the first nine months of 2018. The monthly level of registries hereby soared to a record high of 316,405 in August alone as carmakers rushed to sell vehicles with heavy discounts before the new WLTP standards were enforced. A similar rate of increase was last measured nine years ago when the government introduced a new environmental premium.
Commenting on the development, Bernhard Mattes, the president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), noted that the "unusually high August result cannot be seen as a yardstick because special one-off effects came into play." As a consequence, the VDA confirmed an earlier forecast for a total of 3.5 million new vehicle registries (plus 1 percent) for the entirety 2018.